David Lidington has been appointed Minister for the Cabinet Office to replace Damian Green, who quit the Government last month after admitting lying over pornography on his office computer.
But the former justice secretary has not been given the title of First Secretary of State, which marked Mr Green out as Theresa May’s effective deputy.
It is understood that Mrs May does not intend to appoint a First Secretary of State in what is expected to be her biggest reshuffle since taking office in 2016.
Mr Lidington was also named Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, replacing Sir Patrick McLoughlin, who was sacked as Conservative chairman following criticism of his role in the party’s poor performance in last year’s snap election.
Brandon Lewis has been named the new party chairman, amid farcical scenes which saw the Tories’ official Twitter account incorrectly announce that the job had gone to Chris Grayling.
And Amber Rudd was confirmed in her position as Home Secretary, as one of a group of the most senior ministers – also including Chancellor Philip Hammond, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Brexit Secretary David Davis – expected to stay in their current posts.
Confirming he was leaving Mrs May’s top team after almost two years as party chairman, Sir Patrick McLoughlin – who was blamed by many Tories for the party’s poor showing in last year’s snap election – told Sky News: “I’ve been in the Cabinet eight years. I have had a very good run and I enjoyed it immensely.”
In a letter to the Prime Minister, Sir Patrick said he felt it was the right time to leave the Cabinet “as we discussed some months ago”.
The outgoing chairman has faced criticism over the way the general election campaign was run, but Mrs May said he had responded to the challenge with “vigour” and praised his “wisdom, hard work and dedication”.
Sir Patrick McLoughlin confirmed he was leaving the Cabinet after eight years (Stefan Rousseau/PA)
In a major shake-up of CCHQ, the Conservatives announced prominent backbencher James Cleverly as deputy chairman, junior minister Chris Skidmore as vice chairman for policy, Maria Caulfield as vice chair for women, and 2017 intake MPs Kemi Badenoch and Ben Bradley as vice chair for candidates and vice chair for youth respectively.
In a break from tradition, Mrs May has asked not only new appointees but also Cabinet ministers remaining in post to see her at 10 Downing Street. The move has made it more difficult for observers to work out who may be in line for dismissal or a new job.